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 Заголовок сообщения: Элиэзер Рабинович против рабби Фридмана
СообщениеДобавлено: Вт сен 14, 2010 7:14 pm 
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Dr. Eliezer M. Rabinovich
Berkeley Heights, NJ
A member of SJCC since 1982


An Open Letter to Rabbi Friedman of the Summit (NJ) Jewish Community Center

September 12, 2010
Tishrei 4, 5771
Dear Rabbi Friedman,

Shalom uvraha, and best wishes to you and your family for the New year!

I am writing now because I allowed myself to publicly disagree with you after your Rosh Hashanah sermon on September 9, and I think I owe you and the congregation an explanation. I know that the Board has established the rule that political letters of the members are not spread through the electronic network of the synagogue, and I hope for an exception in this case. I may also publish and spread this letter, and I intend to send a copy to President Obama whose September 11 speech mirrored your sermon. I am not hopeful that I can turn a course of the events but this is a minimum what I can do, and this is why I am writing. I really hope you will not take it in a personal way, and we’ll remain friends, but the issue is very important, and its public discussion is warranted.

You are our Rabbi - this word means “Teacher” in the Jewish religion, and in this capacity you have and should have an unchallenged authority. During your 5 years with us you have earned the respect of the congregation and mine. We certainly expect your leadership in these “yomim noraim” – “frightening 10 days” of self-reflection and self-criticism when we are the least confident of ourselves and of our behavior. Instead, you chose the rabbinical pulpit to express your personal political stance, and in this capacity you should not be considered a leader and a teacher but just one of the congregants whose opinion is not more authoritative than opinions of other members. You expressed the views that are highly contradictory and divisive in the Jewish and Christian communities. I disagree with your views, and though I do not know how many of the members would agree with me, but after my remark several people approached me to show their support.

Before I continue, let me summarize the content of your talk for the benefit of those who did not hear you and to allow you to check the correctness of my understanding:

1. You told that the 9/11 was the work of 19 individuals, and the event has nothing to do with the American Muslim community.
2. You told that we would betray the basic Jewish values and undermine our own right for equality if we embrace distrust to the American Muslim community and to Muslims worldwide.
3. You expressed unwavering support for building the so-called “ground zero mosque”. You told that it is far enough from the ground zero, that this is not a mosque but a cultural center where the prayers will be occasionally held. You strongly disagreed with the anti-mosque position of the Anti-Defamation League and its chairman Abraham Foxman.
4. You told that the Lebanese government easily agreed to permit the restoration of the Beirut synagogue destroyed by the Israeli bombing during one of the Lebanese wars, and you favorably compared that decision with the protests against “the ground-zero mosque”.

Have I described your stance correctly?

First of all, do you seriously expect us to believe that the downing of the World Trade Center towers was a work of the individuals? Did not they receive an unlimited financial and logistical support? Were not the pilots trained in the US?

Second, please tell me how many non-Muslim terrorists have you seen in the Western world after the Italian Red Brigades were dismantled and peace came to the Northern Ireland? I can’t recall even one, may be you’ll help and remind me?

The freedom of speech and press is one of the West’s basic values. Do you remember an anti-Muhammad cartoon published in a non-Muslim country called Denmark and how many lives were lost as a result of Muslim rage on the account of this cartoon? Where were their “moderate” imams to moderate them as you are trying to moderate us?

Do you remember a Dutch movie director who paid with his life on the streets of his country for exercising his freedoms?

Now – a pastor Jones of a tiny congregation of 50 souls in Florida threatens to burn the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11. It has not yet happened but angry Muslims around the world have already burned a score of the American flags. Where are their “moderate” imams to moderate them as you are trying to moderate us?

Here is the information from Associated Press on Sept. 10: “Cleric Rusli Hasbi told 1,000 worshippers attending Friday morning prayers in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, that whether or not he burns the Quran, Jones had already "hurt the heart of the Muslim world…If he'd gone through with it, it would have been tantamount to war," the cleric said in the coastal town of Lhokseumawe. "A war that would have rallied Muslims all over the world," he continued. Can you imagine: this action of one individual, firmly condemned by the American society, would mean declaring the war, and downing the Towers was not! Why we are not rallying all over the world against the Muslim atrocities but, instead, our priests and our rabbis call for moderation and tolerance!

In fact, the fundamentalists in the Muslim world have long declared the war on the West but you refuse to see it. I have some strong credentials for this statement, because nine years ago, on January 21, 2001, eight months before 9/11, The NY Times published my letter that after 9/11 could be considered somewhat prophetic:

“Clearly, American foreign policy has not lost goal and steam with the collapse of Communism, but our leaders have not yet recognized the new threat: Islamic fundamentalism will be as dangerous… in the 21st century as Communism and fascism were in the 20th century. The West spent almost a third of that century simply recognizing and admitting the danger, and this shortsightedness resulted in enormous loss of human life. Let us understand the danger better now and make containment of Islamic fundamentalism our top priority.”

Nine years have passed, and after so many terror attacks we are still on the same level of naivety and denial. In particular, President Obama is in this state of mind, and he is wrong when he said (Sept. 11)) that we are not in war with Islam. We are, and this is the Third World War forced on us by the Muslims. The war is conducted on their rules, while we are playing according to democratic habits and Geneva conventions, and we are losing. Our society is too afraid of being accused of intolerance and is failing to see that the Islamic fundamentalism is rapidly turning into a way of thinking of the Islamic mainstream. At the same time it contributes to a spread of virulent anti-Semitism around the world.

All our way of life has changed during the last quarter of the century, courtesy of the Muslims. We spend extra hours at airports for numerous checks, not having freedom to take a small bottle of water or milk for a child on board. My 70+ years-old wife undergoes humiliating searches every time because the metal detectors react to the surgical implant in her hip. All those searches – have they ever yielded any real danger of a non-Muslim origin?

In the cradle of the European civilization, Paris, some Muslims “live mostly in the suburbs, mostly north of Paris where there is a lot of unemployment, drugs and violence, and even areas where police hardly dares to enter” (from a letter of my friend – a Parisian professor). Muamar Quadaffi, while recently visiting Italy, openly proclaimed that the future of Europe is Islam. He surely hopes this is the future for America as well.

Did the Jews ever behave in this way? When the Jews came to America, they came to live and to succeed. They did not come to destroy. There are many other immigrants in this country: Chinese, South Korean, Indian. Have you ever heard about Chinese, Korean or Indian terrorists threatening our country and our freedoms? Threatening the European way of life? Do we show distrust toward those minorities?
Now about that mosque. Do you know that “New York City has more than 100 mosques, compared with 10 in 1970…” as said by Philip Banks III, chief of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau? Do you know that 70% of the American population, not objecting to building more mosques in other places, believes that this particular place is not the proper for another house of the Islamic prayer? The leader of the project, imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, said: "We are here to extend our hands to build peace and harmony." If it were really so, would not he consider the sensitivity of the vast majority of the Americans and, to avoid confrontation, changed the location? But he would not yield because the Islamic world intends to celebrate the mosque building in this place as a victory by Islam in the religious war against the West. The name of the center “Cordoba” symbolizes its meaning as a Muslim victory to remind about conquered in the 8th century Spanish Cordoba where the Muslims built their mosque over the church. In his last interviews imam Rauf threatened us with the Muslim world explosion against the US if the mosque is moved to a different location! We are not the masters in our own house anymore. We should think only about sensitivities of the enraged Muslims! It reminds me how in 1939 Hitler provoked Poland with a staged attack on the German radio station to give him a casus belli to start a war the next day.
About Lebanon, Hizbollah and Hamas. The war at that area is a result of the stubborn refusal of the Arab world to accept Israel. Twice the Palestinians rejected the most generous Israeli proposals. Again, their president Abbas started the new negotiations with preconditions that exclude the agreement. There is no comparison with the undeclared war that the Islamic world is forcing on the West and on Israel.

While the Muslim world is menacing us, Israel, the whole world, it has not provided its people with decent living and human rights (except for the oil-rich countries spending their oil money), and the more of Islam in a country, the worse all sides of its life. Compare rising India with stagnant and impoverished Pakistan and Bangladesh, or Singapore with Gaza. Only the African world is doing worse, but Africa is not exporting its terrorists to the West.

Our lives, our freedom, our future are in grave danger. It is painful that we are unable to take lessons from history. Appeasement of the Muslim world is a new Munich, and President Obama is a new Chamberlain. We are paving the way to a new Auschwitz with our so-called “liberalism” and “tolerance”. This is why I am writing this letter.

With respect and best regards,
Sincerely yours,

Eliezer M. Rabinovich


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 Заголовок сообщения: Re: Элиэзер Рабинович против рабби Фридмана
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From: Rabbi Avi Friedman
To: Eliezer Rabinovich

Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Dear Eliezer,
Thank you for your letter. I appreciate the cordial tone. You are certainly free to distribute your letter as you see fit. However, before you do, I would like to clarify two things.
First of all, I reject categorically your assertion that my sermon was somehow not rabbinic. Quite the opposite, this sermon followed the centuries-old tradition of applying our traditional texts to modern situations. My sermon was based on two texts. First, from the Torah: “V’ahavta l’ray-acha camocha” – which I translate as “Love your neighbor who is like you (Lev. 19:18).” Secondly, from Pirkei Avot 1:14, Hillel’s famous teaching: ““If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” I think that these two texts lead logically to the conclusion I presented on Rosh Hashanah. My sermon was not political and it was not merely my personal view. It was based upon the moral teachings of our tradition. I believe that Judaism has something to say about virtually any topic. This topic was on people’s minds, and I thought that they should know what our tradition has to say about it.
You may choose to disagree with my interpretation. You may wish for a rabbi with a different interpretation of our sacred texts. But, it is inaccurate to suggest that that my sermon was not rabbinic.
Secondly, in my sermon, I only spoke about the Muslim-American community – those who have chosen to make a life for themselves and their families here in this country – and not the worldwide Muslim community. Here are my exact words: “We cannot continue to hold the entire American Muslim community responsible for the actions of 19 individuals nine years ago– especially when those 19 individuals were not Muslim Americans. They came to this country for the express purpose of perpetrating evil.”
It has not been so long since American Catholics were accused of being beholden to the Vatican – and were thus considered untrustworthy. Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during World War II out of fear that they may have been spies for Japan. Today, people still question whether American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America. In all of these instances, I believe that the prevailing “wisdom” of mistrust was completely wrong. I believe that those Muslims who have chosen to make America their home deserve all the rights and privileges of being an American. To the extent that we deny them these rights, we are preventing the Americanization and modernization of Islam.
As for the rest of your letter, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree. I believe that the key to mitigating the threat of radical Islam is to give Muslims a more modern, rational alternative. The way to create such an alternative is to have Islamic Centers such as the one proposed in lower Manhattan. Our opposition to it stokes the flames of violence in the Islamic world. It is up to us to take the high road by observing the mitzvah of loving our neighbor rather than measuring ourselves according to the behavior of Muslim countries.
Thank you again for your letter.
Shanah Tovah and G’mar Hatimah Tovah,
RAF.


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 Заголовок сообщения: Re: Элиэзер Рабинович против рабби Фридмана
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From: Eliezer Rabinovich
To: Rabbi Avi Friedman


Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 5:41 PM
Dear Rabbi Friedman,

I appreciate your friendly reply and your explanation. I think you have convinced me that your sermon was rabbinic in nature, and I apologize for my misinterpretation. Still, I regret that we have been unable to find a common understanding in other matters. You write me that you meant only the American Muslim community:
“We cannot continue to hold the entire American Muslim community responsible for the actions of 19 individuals nine years ago– especially when those 19 individuals were not Muslim Americans. They came to this country for the express purpose of perpetrating evil.”

True, but they found a support and friendly infrastructure to support their difficult task. Have not it been proven that some American Muslim organizations finance terror and HAMAS? Also, those organizations receive funds from abroad. As there is a deep connection between us and Israel, there is also a deep connection between the American Muslims and the Islamic world outside. The difference is that Israel is a friend and ally, and the Islamic world –not, and there is no Jewish (or American Catholic) terrorists bothering the American life. Also, the high-educated Muslim students on campuses are strongly anti-Semitic and definitely anti-Israeli.

You profess: “Love your neighbor who is like you” (Lev. 19:18).

Very well, but do our Muslim neighbors share your attitude? This sentence is written in the Jewish and Christian Bible but not in the Quran. The Islamic moral is entirely different. Yet in 1785 John Adams and Thomas Jefferson inquired a Tripoli ambassador to London Abd Al-Rahman why the Barbary states pirate American ships and enslave American citizens. The ambassador was frank:
“It was written in the Quran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” (Christopher Hitchens, City Journal, Spring 2007).
The issue of the piracy was first resolved by appeasement - the method of “Danegold”, that is, by paying huge ransoms - but eventually the USA started and won a series of battles and forced those states to respect the American commerce. To respect, not to love. And the respect only until their time comes to try to win again.
Now they think the time has come. The Muslim world is IN WAR with us, and the American Muslims are a part of this world. If they really cared to be on good terms with the rest of the country, they would surely move the cultural center from the lower Manhattan to accommodate concerns of 70% of the Americans. But they have another goal: calling it "Cordoba," they underline it’s meaning as a symbol of the victory of Islam. Muslims in Europe and in the US have no goal of assimilating into the Western culture, but their real purpose is conversion of the West to Islam.

Modernization of Islam is not our business - it can come only from the depth of Islam itself, and not from the Muslim Americans.

About the Muslim rage: now WE need to fear their rage every moment - when somebody publishes an improper cartoon, when some obscure pastor threatens to burn the Quran. But the Muslims need not to be afraid of our rage when they take down the World Trade Center, kill people in Madrid, London and Amsterdam, take over streets of Paris for their prayer - we are still expected to be tolerant and understanding!

Therefore, I repeat my words from the first letter:

”It is painful that we are unable to take lessons from history. Appeasement of the Muslim world is a new Munich, and President Obama is a new Chamberlain. We are paving the way to a new Auschwitz with our so-called “liberalism” and “tolerance”,

and I add to them your teaching to me - the words of great Hillel:

"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?" This is our utmost concern now - too long we have been for others.

"And if not now, when?”

Sincerely yours,

Eliezer


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